Insights from computational investigations of 2D & 3D cell culture recordings
October 6, 2017
Via Celoria 26 —Milano
Dept. of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences "Luigi Sacco", Università di Milano, Italy
Understanding the processing performed by the brain represents a challenging topic. Although in-vivo experimental techniques have advanced to a large extent, reductionist approaches still represent an interesting alternative to address many of the open questions about the brain functions. To this regard, neuronal cell cultures constitute an ideal experimental model to study the mechanisms underlying the development and the computations performed by biological networks. Cell cultures display prominent spontaneous network activities, called network bursts, that occur stochastically in time. In the first part of my talk, I will present results of a recent work that has allowed us to unveil how spontaneous network bursts emerge in cell culture networks. We have also shown that the network response to an external stimulus is highly variable and is strictly related to the occurrence of the network bursts. Interestingly, we interpreted the observed trial to trial variability in terms of a simple model and this result hints for state dependent processing taking place in these networks. In the second part of my talk, I will present results about the design of cell culture networks with predefined 2D and 3D topologies [that are providing new and interesting paradigms for computational investigations. In the last part of my talk, I will give an overview of my more recent research activities at the integrated Thalamocortical function (iTCf) group lead by Marcello Massimini (University of Milan).